State Democrats demand answers for Tennesseans’ unemployment struggles


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Thousands of Tennesseans are still waiting for their unemployment claims to be processed as many were left without jobs due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Some of these people have been left in limbo for the last two months since the start of the pandemic is Tennessee and now, state Democrats are pushing for answers; saying they deserve an explanation for the hold-up.

RELATED: Coronavirus: Sevier County woman shares frustrations with state unemployment

Rep. Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville) is calling for the governor to take action.

“These are real people with families,” Rep. Johnson said. “They need the money they deserve. A lot of us know we can’t miss one paycheck, let alone, missing nine weeks of a paycheck. You can’t put food on the table that way.”

One Knoxville man shared his struggles and frustration with the state unemployment.

“I have literally one penny in my bank account. I just thought that was so comical,” Paul Mohlman said. “I have one penny. That’s it. My credit score, right down the toilet. My credit card company won’t let me use the credit card. I have nothing. I have nothing.”

Since March 15, more than 500,000 Tennesseans have filed new unemployment claims. Just over 300,000 of those claims have been paid out.

RELATED: Coronavirus in Tennessee: Navigating record unemployment with economic and emotional impacts

WATE 6 On Your Side reached out to the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development earlier this week regarding the unpaid claims.

A spokesperson told us it’s working on claims “as quickly as possible.” The department also added 400 people to work as claims agents in call centers to handle the high volume of daily calls.

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